Can faith and reason coincide? Indeed; our intellect and capacity to reason are our friends as we journey with God. Faith empowers us to achieve the intellectual objectives we set for ourselves. Paul’s life is a perfect example of faith and reason co-existing harmoniously. Paul, an intellectual giant, was a zealous enemy of Christians. He took great pride in spreading hatred against them and, pursuing and persecuting them. However, after he encountered the resurrected Christ, his life was transformed. Now, with an enlightened mind, he preached the gospel of the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Paul was passionately calling people to repent and reconcile with God and one another.
Paul’s initial life was marked with hatred and an approval of violence, but now he aligned with God’s mission; “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). As Paul’s life demonstrates, faith inspires us on the path of life-long learning. Even at the ripe old age of seventy, Paul sought to know Christ “and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering” (Phil. 3:10). Paul was aware that any effort to know begins with a goal of attaining understanding; not with a full attainment of understanding. This awareness informed his faith and attuned his mind to recognise Christ, the object of faith, whenever he encountered Him afresh.
Faith, a key component in the process of knowing and understanding, helps us set and meet our intellectual objectives. When we set an intellectual goal, our mind puts its faith in the attainability of the goal. The understanding acquired by faith leads to more informed faith. What is the relationship between faith and reason in your life? Are you, like Paul, working towards reconciliation?